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But these statistics only give a pencil-sketch outline of the political tumult that the killing of Trayvon Martin, and the subsequent sanctioning of that death by the U.S. legal system, produced. They cannot convey what those 86% of African American respondents felt on that day. For that, observers, like those who found themselves shocked (if not altogether surprised), must turn to the virtual sphere that provided a place to express the nuance and intensity of people’s reactions and make them public: social media. That day, the virtual public sphere was awash in conversations, dissections of the trial and evidence, and polemical rants, but more prominent than all of these were outcries of pain. And fear.
How social media is changing language - OxfordWords …
As is often the case, especially in democracies, the vividly repressive response of the state turned the public pain, which activists had made coherent in an injustice frame, and communal trauma, which had been forged into shared affect on social media, into collective action and political demand.
The moment of political awakening to the effects of white supremacy that many experienced on the acquittal of Martin’s killer might have subsided, without blossoming from grievance into movement, if not for three factors. The first is the mind boggling and heart rending regularity of the trauma of black deaths at the hands of either vigilantes or law enforcement. The second, the availability of social media to announce, discuss, mourn, analyze, and demand acknowledgement, accountability, and justice in the face of the endlessly repeating collective ordeal of loss. The third is the skillful and dedicated efforts of individuals and organizations across the country (indeed, worldwide) to turn these moments of trauma and rage into a sustained and sustaining political insurgency.